Today marks eleven months since the worst breakdown that I ever had. Eleven months since the night that I almost killed myself.
I was in a terrible place mentally, and confided in someone I thought was a friend. I was wrong.
We had our work break up lunch and drinks. Drinks turned into more drinks, which probably wasn’t a good idea. I was in the bathroom with this “friend” when she started asking questions and wouldn’t let me be. Apparently “I don’t want to talk about it” isn’t a good enough answer. And when I’m confronted like that and angry, mixed with alcohol, my words stop flowing as the tears start. Then came in another person, someone in a higher position of power.
Instead of helping me and giving me the support that in the very least personal way was in their job description, I was literally backed into a corner and yelled at. Again, “I don’t want to talk about it” wasn’t a good enough answer. Word to the wise- if you’re ever in a position of power, and someone under your care needs your help, you damn well help them. You don’t tell them off for going to someone they apparently weren’t meant to, and you sure as hell give them the ability to stand up for themselves and show that they didn’t bring anything up, and the conversation was forced upon them with no way out. And you DEFINITELY do not suggest that they go back out to everyone and have more drinks and “forget about it” then get angry that that person doesn’t want to keep drinking and wants to leave.
To those of you reading this who know what happened, and were possibly even involved- I’m sure you’ll disagree with my version of events. You’ll hate that you seem cruel and selfish; you’ll hate that the truth does not paint you in a good light. And if you are reading this, I hope you finally realise just how close to the edge you pushed me. Know that I could have killed myself, and you would have had to live with the knowledge and guilt that you were to blame. I hope you do read this, and change the ways that you treat people. I hope you start spreading love in all aspects of your life, rather than spreading fear and resentment. Use your position of power to help people, not to tear them down.
I’ve kept it as vague as I can without tip toeing around the issues. As much as the old Shan would love to name names and destroy reputations, the new Shan has moved on. Sure, how I was treated and misused and abused hurt deeply; it still does. But I no longer allow other people to determine my feelings. Only I am in charge, and I chose positivity and happiness, not hatred and regret.
That night, eleven months ago, after I left the celebrations, I called my aunt bawling my eyes out telling her I was walking to where she was and needed a lift home. And then I called my mum.
Some of you may wonder why I’m even writing this at all if I’ve moved on- it’s because I have to. This is the only way I know how to talk about mental health. If talking about my own personal struggles helps raise awareness, then I will tell my story wherever I can. If I can help even just one person, then I consider all this worthwhile. I don’t care anymore if people know how much I’ve struggled in the past- if they know how many times I’ve self harmed, how many times I’ve cried myself to sleep or wanted to die. I’m not embarrassed by it anymore, and I want to help tear down the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide.
To this day, I have no idea what I said on the phone that night. I don’t know how I got to where my aunt was. What I do remember is wandering the streets of Melbourne in hysterics, bawling my eyes out on the phone to mum, and wanting to end it all. I think I was screaming at some point; I honestly don’t remember. I do remember seriously considering walking out in front of cars. I remember thinking that no one would miss me if I was dead. I remember sobbing in hysterics, not even being able to string together a literate sentence. I can’t imagine what my mother thought. All I know is that these were the darkest hours of my life, and I felt empty and alone. I felt worthless.
The next day, I booked an emergency session with a psychologist and I went to my GP and was prescribed anti depressants. When I got home from the psychologist, my mum was waiting for me. She drove three hours to be with me. This wasn’t the first time she had done that for me, and it may not be the last time.
Mental health is an ongoing struggle. There are days where I feel on top of the world, and there are days I cry for no reason. After more breakdowns thanks to the same people, I quit my job and I quit being unhappy at others’ hands. I’m now in a place where I am happy, within myself and with my work. And sure, there are days when I’m going to be down for no reason, but I’ve learnt to manage them, and to embrace them as a lesson.
My past does not define me, but it sure as hell has made me stronger. And I am so thankful that I did not die that night. I’m so thankful that I didn’t die any night or any day in the past when I wanted to.
Life IS worth living. The dark times pass and make way for light. Start making small changes, and the big changes will come in a domino effect.And remember- there is always someone out there to help you. Don’t give up on yourself- you deserve the world.